PLCPD, CRN advocate for stronger safeguards against tobacco at ASEAN workshop

May 22, 2024

May 15, Bangkok – The  Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) and the Child Rights Network (CRN) participated in the ASEAN regional workshop on Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference, held on May 14-15 in Bangkok, Thailand. This workshop, held in commemoration of this year’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31, provided a platform for young people from the Southeast Asia region to urge governments to shield them from the manipulative marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.

PLCPD advocacy officer and CRN young leader for tobacco control Roi Merca, during a panel discussion, delivered the youth’s call to action to protect children and young people by protecting national tobacco control policies from tobacco industry interference. These actions include banning tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; enforcing smoke-free policies in all public places; promoting cessation services; and increasing taxes on cigarettes.

At a press conference following the roundtable, Mr. Merca highlighted the growing issue of e-cigarette and vaping use among young people in the Philippines. He cited the 2019 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, which found that 1 in 7 Filipino school children aged 13-15 use vapes, with smoking behavior observed in individuals as young as 13 years old. “This is a manifestation that the prevalence of e-cigarette or vaping in the Philippines has reached epidemic levels, posing a significant concern for public health, particularly among children,” Mr. Merca stated.

PLCPD and CRN recognize the severity of this issue and view the widespread use of vaping among children as a child rights issue compromising children’s fundamental rights to survival and development, which include their right to health, their right to a healthy and safe environment, and protection from harmful substances.